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Labor arbiter debunks corruption allegations

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

An official of the National Labor Relations Commission strongly debunked allegations of corruption hurled against him by former workers of the First Farmers Holding Corporation (FFHC) in Talisay City, Negros Occidental, in connection with the computation of their claims.

NLRC Executive Labor Arbiter Jessie Sullano said he was accused of being offered P1 million by the complainants, as well as P15 million by the respondent in the complaints.

Complainants have computed that they should receive P108 million in back wages, separation pay, and other benefits, as they questioned the P41.9 million computation made by the NLRC.

But when he computed it based on the order of the Court of Appeals through an “Amicus Curiae” (literally translated from Latin as “friend of the court”) brief, the amount was pegged at P41.9 million, Sullano said.

In a press briefing, Sullano explained that the P108-million computation for claims submitted by the complainants, was the same made by personnel in his office whom he declined to identify, one which he did not sign.

He stressed that the formula used in the computation by Amicus Curiae was based on the formula of the Department of Labor and Employment.

Sullano raised the possibility that the computation may have been leaked by NLRC personnel to the complainants.

He stood his ground in his issued decision, dated June 8, to adopt the computation of Amicus Curiae, stressing that there was no delay in the implementation of the Court of Appeals (CA) decision favoring the complainants.

If they are not okay with his decision, he said complaining sugar mill workers may file an “extra ordinary remedy” with the CA 7th Division in Cebu. But staging a rally against this office is not a solution nor will it solve the problem, the labor arbiter stressed.

He pointed out that he will not change the decision, unless ordered by his superiors.

Sullano also explained that he only inherited the labor cases from his two previous predecessors, which was later elevated to the CA.

The 68 complainants are members of a union, called the First Arrastre Stevedoring Service Employees Union (FASSEU).

Sullano said the NLRC order was already received by both the complainants and the respondent, after it was issued on June 8.

Both parties were given 10 days to respond, whether they accept the order, or resort to an appeal in the appropriate court.*

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